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Support every step of the tray
When Alison Grieve saw champagne worth hundreds of pounds topple over at an event she had organised, she immediately spotted a business opportunity for a non-topple drinks tray.
Now, just over three years later, Alison’s Edinburgh-based company, Safetray Products Ltd, is supplying two of America’s largest food services companies and the product is being manufactured in Scotland.
Sodexo USA and Compass Group USA became early fans of the Safetray, purchasing stock at a trade show in Chicago, and the company has now secured customers in the UAE, as well as throughout the UK and Europe.
Alison said, “it was very exciting when Patrick Robineau, food and beverage director of the Four Seasons Hotel on the Las Vegas strip, described the Safetray as ‘an awesome product’ after showcasing samples at a product innovation event, adding that he was ‘very impressed’ by the invention.
“Securing orders with such leading names in hospitality highlights how innovative the product is. The orders have sparked interest from across the globe with enquiries coming in from hotel groups including Hilton and Marriott. It’s amazing to think that a product made by a small Scottish company is now being used in places such as Alaska, San Francisco and New York. We’re heading to Gulfood, the world’s biggest annual food and hospitality event, in Dublin in Februay, which is very exciting.
“I came up with the idea for the product in 2009 and Business Gateway Edinburgh supported me every step of the way – from ensuring my business plan was robust to helping me with the latest investment round. They helped me secure support from Scottish Development International (SDI) which, along with a small overdraft from the bank, enabled me to attend the Chicago show. They also put me in touch with Scottish Enterprise, whose market research highlighted that America is the product’s biggest market with 60 per cent of its top 100 bars providing VIP table service areas.
Alison added: “We are a classic Business Gateway story, in that we needed to develop intellectual property and it helped us secure a grant to do that, we needed to expand and export and so it put us in touch with SDI, and now its support has helped us secure investment and we are taking on new members of staff.”